With Russell Brand’s recent announcement that he will play a “sexy hippie” in his latest project, a comedy named The President Stole my Girlfriend, it struck us how typecast the stand-up comedian-turned-actor has become. You can count on one hand how many times audiences have seen Brand play a ‘character’, rather than an exaggeration of himself.
He isn’t the first to do so of course. There is a large group of comedic actors in Hollywood who have preceded him since the late 1990s, who play the same character over and over, in exchange for box office success and a higher wage packet. In fact most of them act together too. Dubbed the ‘Frat Pack’ by the media, this group of comedy actors have appeared together in many of the highest grossing comedies of the last decade. Their original members list includes: Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn. In recent years this group has expanded to include others.
Of course all 10 men in the list below have one other thing in common; their projects wouldn’t be possible without the help and collaboration of producer, writer and director, Judd Apatow, who has been a key figure in bringing these comedies into existence. Having worked on the Ben Stiller Show with the man himself, their partnership has brought about some of the most successful comedies of the late 1990’s until the present. His projects have included the likes of: Zoolander, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The 40 Year old Virgin and many more.
The success of this endeavour has hardly waned since the mid 90s, but they play their characters the same way so many times that its hard for audiences to discern between where the actor starts and the character begins. And we have to wonder if the formula is getting a bit stale now? Lets start at the beginning and let us know your thoughts: